REVIEW: Dairy Queen Brownie Batter Blizzard

Dairy Queen Brownie Batter Blizzard Cup

What is the Brownie Batter Blizzard?

This is one of the six flavors in the “New! Summer Blizzard Menu” from Dairy Queen. Only this flavor is not new (it has been released several times over the years), and only the recently reviewed Girl Scout Thin Mints Blizzard is truly new. But enough with semantics, let’s move on to discuss the BBB (Brownie Batter Blizzard), which contains brownies in both batter and piece form.

How is it?

Remember in school when you had to determine the average, median, and mode? This Blizzard is all of those blended into one. There’s nothing wrong with it, but the batter flavor doesn’t really come through with any distinction.

Dairy Queen Brownie Batter Blizzard Spoon

If I really try, I can pick out subtle flavor hints that remind me of brownie batter, but it mostly tastes like chocolate syrup or fudge flavoring. The brownie chunks are fine, but you could have convinced me they were chocolate cookie dough instead of brownie. I did enjoy the chewy texture of the pieces.

Dairy Queen Brownie Batter Blizzard Brownie

Anything else you need to know?

Even though this Blizzard is nothing special, it got me thinking…is there such a thing as a “bad” Blizzard? I’ve never had one, but if you mix ice cream with any type of candy, cookies, brownies, nuts, etc., then it’s going to at least be palatable. So I am hereby challenging DQ to raise their game and dive into the gross-out food trend we’ve seen with jelly beans, sodas, and the like. How about a ketchup and mustard Blizzard? Or pickles and onions? Just think of all the social media action you would get off those, DQ.

Conclusion:

Dairy Queen Brownie Batter Blizzard Top

If your bucket list includes trying every DQ Blizzard ever released, then I guess go ahead and give this one a whirl. But if not, then you are not missing out on much by picking another Blizzard variety.

Purchased Price: $4.79
Size: Medium
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium) 770 calories, 34 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 105 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 79 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Girl Scout Thin Mints Blizzard

Dairy Queen Girl Scouts Thin Mints Blizzard Cup

What is the Girl Scout Thin Mints Blizzard?

It is part of Dairy Queen’s Summer Blizzard Menu, which is available two months before summer begins and includes this offering as the only new flavor of the six. As you surely have surmised by the name, this Blizzard includes vanilla soft serve with Girl Scout Thin Mints cookies and, importantly, as I will explain, cool mint.

How is it?

Dairy Queen Girl Scouts Thin Mints Blizzard Top

Before I get to the taste, I must assure you that the accompanying photos are indeed of the correct Blizzard. When it was delivered to my table, complete with an enthusiastic upside-down flip from a friendly DQ employee, I figured perhaps a mistake had been made as I stared down at my oddly grayish treat. So, I think for the first time in my life, I made a deliberate attempt to smell a Blizzard, and it definitely had that familiar Thin Mints aroma.

Dairy Queen Girl Scouts Thin Mints Blizzard Color

Confident that my order was right but still a bit perplexed by the color, I dug in. It tasted even better than it smelled and much better than it looked. This is coming from someone who likes Thin Mint cookies but doesn’t love them (and no, I even don’t love them straight from the freezer). Thin Mints are good — they are cookies, after all — but when I get guilted into buying Girl Scout cookies on a trip to the grocery store, I usually pick other varieties. So, this Blizzard had to prove its worthiness to me.

If it simply had Thin Mints blended in, even perhaps with some chocolate, then I think it would be pretty average. But with the addition of cool mint, which in the ingredients on the DQ website is listed as creme de menthe topping, it jumps up several levels. The flavor is a bit mintier than simply biting into a Thin Mint, but it is by no means overpowering, so the chocolate and more subdued mintiness of the cookie is still there.

Dairy Queen Girl Scouts Thin Mints Blizzard Spoon

Thin Mints also have a great texture for Blizzards, as they are not too crunchy but firm enough to hold up well in the ice cream. I was a bit surprised how much I liked this, especially given my neutral stance on Thin Mints.

Anything else you need to know?

I really cannot fully explain why my Blizzard was more gray than green, although the green color in the DQ advertising is somewhat muted, so the color difference was not that great after comparing the two. Plus, my Blizzard did get a bit greener as I got toward the bottom, so an uneven mix was likely at play too. But I don’t buy a Blizzard to look at it, so if it tastes good, I don’t care what color it is.

Conclusion:

If you really dislike Thin Mints, then take a gander at the five other options on the summer menu, but if you like Thin Mints even a little bit, then I think you’ll give this one a big thumbs up. And if you really love Thin Mints, you might even use both thumbs.

Purchased Price: $4.79
Size: Medium
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium) 900 calories, 32 grams of fat, 21 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 460 milligrams of sodium, 137 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 102 grams of sugar, and 18 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Blue Bell Cookies ‘n Cream Cone Ice Cream

Blue Bell Cookies  n Cream Cone Ice Cream Tub

What is Blue Bell Cookies ‘n Cream Cone?

It’s the newest flavor from Blue Bell and is described as, to quote the packaging, “vanilla flavored ice cream with chocolate crème filled cookie crumbles, dark chocolate-coated chocolate cone pieces and a chocolate fudge swirl.”

If you’re counting, the word “chocolate” is mentioned four times in the description but not once in the product’s name. And if you are a stickler for punctuation, you might wonder why chocolate-coated is hyphenated, but not vanilla flavored or crème filled. I have no answer for that, and it will probably keep me up tonight.

How is it?

Blue Bell Cookies  n Cream Cone Ice Cream Top

My first thought upon popping the top was that the quartet of chocolates in the description was not enough because all I saw was a small island of vanilla-ish color in the middle surrounded by a sea of chocolate.

Blue Bell Cookies  n Cream Cone Ice Cream Excavation

However, after some excavating, it turned out that there just happened to be a thin layer of the fudge swirl on the top. A full scoop has more of a traditional cookies’ n cream look.

Blue Bell Cookies  n Cream Cone Ice Cream Bowl

As for the taste, it was quite good and not overly chocolatey. The cookies’ n cream part was basically your standard cookies’ n cream flavor, but the fudge swirls added a nice chocolate boost and tasted a lot like Hershey’s syrup.

Blue Bell Cookies  n Cream Cone Ice Cream Spoon

The cone pieces provided some extra taste and texture, although they were hard to distinguish from the cookie pieces. The label was not kidding when it said “crumbles” either, as I didn’t find many cookie pieces of significant size. The cone pieces were larger but still fairly small. Overall, the flavors and textures all worked together splendidly. It would have been nice to have some more sizable chunks of both cookies and cone, however.

Anything else you need to know?

In my dedication to providing you with the most comprehensive information available about this product, I actually read — OK, I skimmed — a press release about it. According to it, this new flavor is an homage to Blue Bell’s Cookie Cone product that launched in 1997, was sold mostly in school cafeterias, and discontinued in 2015. That product had a complete cone with a scoop of chocolate-coated ice cream, along with the same overly happy fake Oreo guy on the package.

Conclusion:

This is not the fanciest or most daring ice cream flavor out there, perhaps because Blue Bell sees itself as a more traditional ice cream maker. The packaging on this product is flashy by its standards, as most of its other flavors have just a solid color with the kid leading the cow logo. So if you want ice cream with Pop Rocks, Sour Patch Kids, or something like that in it, you have plenty of other options, but if you just want some good cookies’ n cream ice cream with a little something extra, this one is for you.

Purchased Price: $6.34
Size: Half-gallon
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Red Velvet Cake Blizzard

Dairy Queen Red Velvet Cake Blizzard Top

What is the Dairy Queen Red Velvet Cake Blizzard?

It’s Dairy Queen’s Blizzard of the Month for February, and it features red velvet cake pieces and cream cheese icing with, as always, vanilla soft serve. This is not technically new, as DQ has offered it in February a few times in the past. But it’s been five years since the last time it was available, according to our handy-dandy Blizzard of the Month List.

How is it?

Dairy Queen Red Velvet Cake Blizzard Sign

We all know better than to expect fast food to actually look like it does in a commercial or promotional photo, but the difference here was pretty glaring. Based on the window sign at DQ (and the name of this Blizzard), I was expecting it to be, you know, red. What I got was basically white with small red freckles and a tinge of reddish-pink. I think it was partly a blending issue, as the population of cake pieces increased dramatically as I tunneled downward, but even then, the reddish color only increased modestly.

I’m also not sure enough of the cake pieces were pulverized in the blending process to spread their redness around. A better blending might have made it slightly closer to the color on the window sign but still far from the vibrant red-pink color shown on the DQ website.

Dairy Queen Red Velvet Cake Blizzard Spoon

Of course, the more important issue is how it tastes, and the flavor of this one really makes up for the underwhelming appearance. For one thing, it’s different than most Blizzards, with no chocolate overload or extreme sweetness. The red velvet cake delivers a subtle chocolatey flavor that seems a bit more complex than just “regular chocolate,” and the cream cheese brings a sweet creaminess that pairs nicely. This won’t blow away your taste buds with a powerful burst of flavor, but it should make them happy.

Anything else you need to know?

I needed to know exactly what red velvet cake is because, to be honest, I was not exactly sure. I’ve had it many times, and I liked it, because, duh, it’s cake. But I’m not sure I could really describe what it tastes like. I’m still not really sure.

Some will claim that it’s just chocolate cake with red food coloring, but “real” red velvet cake generally includes cocoa, buttermilk, and vinegar, which together provide the reddish hue through a chemical reaction. Scanning the ingredients on the DQ website, it appears this red velvet cake is closer to a red-colored chocolate cake. It does contain cocoa, but there is no mention of buttermilk or vinegar.

Dairy Queen Red Velvet Cake Blizzard Cake Closeup

As you can see from a cross-section of a piece, it’s not exactly light and fluffy like you might imagine for cake; it’s really more the consistency of a red velvet brownie. So if you are a red velvet cake purist, this might not be for you.

Conclusion:

I’m always down for a Blizzard that is not some rehashed combination of chocolate, fudge, and Oreo, and this, well, it takes the cake for being different. It’s not the best Blizzard I’ve had, but it stands out as being unique for having two flavors not found in any other versions I can recall, and together they taste excellent. So this is a perfect treat to share with your significant (or even insignificant) other on Valentine’s Day or any time before it disappears for another five years.

Purchased Price: $4.79
Size: Medium
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Medium) 910 calories, 37 grams of fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 500 milligrams of sodium, 128 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 90 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

REVIEW: McDonald’s McRib (2020)

McDonald s McRib  2020

The McRib is back…for the 57th time! I was surprised to learn it debuted way back in 1981, and that it has apparently been eight years since McDonald’s has offered it nationwide in the U.S.

Even though the McRib is far older than the internet, it might be the perfect food for our social media-focused world. It trends every time McDonald’s unleashes it. Also, furious debates ensue about whether the hype is warranted or just brilliant marketing, and if it is the best or worst fast food item in history. Because on social media, there can be no in-between. But in the frenzy created whenever the restructured boneless pork patty sandwich with BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions is released, an important question is rarely asked.

Does it taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Pickles Onions

It seems like an obvious query, of course, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought about it. Like, I’m guessing, the majority of you fine readers of TIB, I’ve had a McRib a few times in my life. But I don’t remember the last time I had one, or even if I enjoyed it.

So I was left to ponder, is it actually a tasty meal? Or do I — and many of you — buy it because of that innate human desire to snatch up limited-time items (even though, when you think about it, everything on Earth is a limited time item)?

I also find it more than a little coincidental that after initially flopping, the McRib was brought back on a limited basis in 1989, the year after the hair band Cinderella taught us, “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” Seems like some McDonald’s marketing exec was a Cinderella fan.

So back to the question at hand…does the McRib taste good?

McDonald s McRib  2020 Patty Closeup

Well, not really, but it wasn’t bad either. The texture was not as rubbery as I was expecting, so I guess that’s a positive. The pork patty, complete with fake grill or bone marks (I’m not sure which it’s supposed to be), didn’t have a strong flavor. It was definitely pork-like, but I probably could have been convinced it was chicken or turkey. McDonald’s claims the BBQ sauce is tangy, but that’s a bit of a stretch. It seemed like a generic BBQ sauce. The pickles and onions were fine, and the latter added some nice crunch. Simply put, it was an average-tasting sandwich.

McDonald s McRib  2020 Bite

It reminded me of one of those microwavable sandwiches you get out of those sketchy, old school wheel of misfortune-type vending machines. You know, the ones where you make a selection after spinning the food around and then open that plastic door while hoping to retrieve the vittles with your hand and fingers intact.

Would I ever buy a McRib if it were available year-round, like it is, according to McGoogle, in Germany and, for some reason, Luxembourg? I doubt it, and if McDonald’s announced the McRib as a permanent menu item tomorrow, then the one I just had today would probably be my last. But when they bring it back in a year or two and social media makes me feel like I’m missing out, then yes, I must sheepishly admit that I’ll probably have another. I guess McDonald’s knows a thing or two about marketing.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 520 calories, 28 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 890 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of protein.

(Editor’s Note: Starting this year, I’m going to have a different TIB writer review the McRib every time it comes back. Why? Just for fun AND content.